Professors and Students Brace for Upcoming Snow Days

Professors and Students Brace for Upcoming Snow Days

By Richard Southard Contributing Writer

UMF facilities maintenance removing snow on campus after two sudden storms. (Photo by Emily Mokler)

Students and professors alike have started preparing for winter class cancellations, after a winter storm at the beginning of the semester brought a late start to many classes. With more predictions of snowy weather, their effects on weekly schedules may become apparent.

   English Professor Christine Darrohn said, “[The weather] can be unpredictable.” The effects of class cancellations can vary, depending on the class and its workload. “It depends on a few different factors such as what days are they affecting, and if they are hitting the same classes,” Darrohn said.

   Darrohn mentioned that, in the case of literature courses, snow days can result in assignments being more compressed. “It can sometimes be hard to combine two classes worth of reading into a single day. But it is Maine, and I try to prepare for it as best as I can.”

   English Professor Michael Johnson prepares for snow days well in advance. “Snow days and cancellations just seem to come with living in Maine,” Johnson said. “I always expect that they will happen.” Johnson alters his schedule before the semester begins, in order to be more flexible during the unpredictable weather. “I plan accordingly,” Johnson said, “either by building an open day or two in the syllabus, or already having in mind what to cut or combine if need be.”

   For students, the feelings around snow days are rather mixed. Third-year Education major Nate Red stated that snow days are more negative in excess. “You get some time to catch up, but you’re losing time to learn,” Red said. Red expressed that having only a few snow days are “super positive”, as they give some chance to relieve some stress. “Before high-school, snow days were always fun, but after then, it’s a bit different.”

   As an educator, Red has also experienced the teacher’s perspective to snow days. “It’s a day you lose to teach kids,” Red said. “When you’re looking to go into teaching, that’s what you want to do, and cancelled classes affect that.” Bryce Neal, a fourth-year Geology major, had a similar feeling. “I’m paying for classes, so I’m missing something I paid for,” Neal said. Overall, a class cancellation can reduce some of the workload for the day, but can sometimes increase it. “I try to make them productive”,  Neal said.

   Despite the negative effects snow storms can have on schedules, it can leave room for some leisurely activities. “Snow days do allow me to try some different things,” Neal said. “Sometimes I like to ski in the roads.”

  As the Spring semester continues with two cancellations already, both students and professors expect for more snow and cancelled classes, but just how many is unsure. “I’m sure there will be more,” Neal said. “At least two or three more.”